A Hammam is a traditional Moroccan bath, which is a version of the Turkish bath without the steam. It is used by men women and children and forms part of a tradition. It is used partly to clean and refresh your body, but it is also used as a meeting place, a place to relax and cleanse the mind as well as the body.
For a few pence you get access to unlimited buckets of steaming water in the Hammam and, if you are on your own, almost certainly you will get the scrubbing of a lifetime from a friendly local who will be only too happy to oblige! Public hammans are a great place to meet the local people and to share one of their traditions..
Hammams can take two forms, public or private. To truly experience the real Moroccan hammam experience, go to the local public one. There is a very good one up the main street in Aourir, about 1.5km from Villa Ramalah. The other choice is a private hammam in a Hotel in Agadir, but the experiences are totally different.
Public Hammams consist of three rooms. The first room is for bathing, with the second and third rooms, which are hotter, are for massaging and relaxing.For about 5 to 10 Dirhams you get to use a locker for your belongings (we advise you to leave all valuables back at the villa), two black rubber buckets, and all the hot water you require. You can either bathe yourself or request a tayeba (washing person) for an extra fee.
You will need to take towels and toiletries with you. We suggest you buy a cheap rubber mat to sit on and take a small plastic bowl for pouring water over you. You will also need a scrubbing glove called a kese, which you can buy in the market. You can buy olive-oil soap, sabon beldi can be purchased on-site.
Check to see if the hammam has staff available to perform a massage if you want one as not all hammams do, or you may have to book in advance.Other things to remember is that you need to keep you underpants on as no nudity is allowed in the hammam.
Whilst many people Travel in Morocco, not many stop to experience this real pleasure and take time out to just relax and revitalise themselves – we suggest you do.
The Hammam Ritual
Most people have there own way of performing the hammam, but they all follow a similar pattern – if you are not sure, somebody will be happy to assist you and show you what to do – it is a very social experience and can take an hour or so. We have tried to summarise the actions for you:
- Rinse. Rinse yourself with clear hot water. Moroccans often use very hot water in order to bring themselves to a sweat and open the pores to remove dust.
- Wait. Wait until you begin to sweat and your skin softens in readiness to scrub
- Scrub. Once wet and sweaty, take the scrubbing mitt and begin to scrub yourself in long hard strokes until the dead skin loosens and begins to roll off. Do not rinse until the skin starts to roll off and until you have scrubbed a large area..Once you have finished scrubbing an area, rinse off. Continue until you have scrubbed everywhere.This can take a long time, but whats the hurry!. If you are on your own, somebody may offer to scrub you – this is fully acceptable and you do not need to worry. The only caution is that they scrub really hard.You are also expected to reciprocate as well so be prepared to do this for your neighbour.
- Soap. You only use the soap after the scrubbing is complete.
- Wash Hair. Wash your hair with your normal shampoo, or us a local clay pack.
- Shave. You often see the men shaving in the Hammam
- Rinse. Use as much water as required – but spare a thought for other users and do not use it all.
You will emerge for the hammam clean, refreshed and invigorated.
We guarantee you that you have never been this clean – enjoy the experience!